President Donald Trump has reportedly initiated talks about a Republican presidential candidacy again in 2024 amid his refusal to concede from the 2020 election against presumptive President-elect Joe Biden.
Although he’s fired a series of legal attacks in battleground states as voters began to favor a Biden presidency, Trump has already told advisers he’s speculating on running for a second White House win in four years, sources told Axios.
Presidents are limited to serving two terms, but they aren’t required to be consecutive.
“Once you've lost it's hard to gain the momentum you need to win the nomination and then the general election. That's especially true since most presidents are reelected,” Jonathan Krasno, professor of political science at Binghamton University, said.
Krasno noted that it’s “highly uncommon for a president to run for non-consecutive terms” but pointed to President Grover Cleveland, who was the only president in history to leave the White House and return to serve in a second term four years later.
Presidents who aren’t reelected, like Trump, are “usually considered so politically damaged” from the previous election defeat, Krasno said.
The report for a Trump 2024 candidacy is the sharpest hint that the president has privately recognized he lost the election, though his campaign team continues to hurdle several lawsuits stemming from the surge in mail-in and absentee voting accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic. The increase in this type of voting, the president claims, has triggered massive accounts of voter fraud and therefore a stolen election. GOP congressional candidates are now echoing the same rhetoric, emphasizing the need for a legal push to investigate.
“Given the large number of votes Trump received, it is not surprising that he is interested in running again. In the face of no evidence of systematic problems with the electoral system it is surprising that so many Republican elected officials, including those who served in the Senate with Joe Biden, have failed to recognize Biden as president-elect,” Michael J. Hanmer, government and politics professor and research director of the Center for Democracy and Civic Engagement at the University of Maryland.
Sources close to GOP lawmakers -- who are contemplating running in 2024 -- are not looking forward to another Trump run in the future. His power to persuade within the party could grant him renomination in four years, especially if he remains in the spotlight throughout Biden’s term in the White House.
“Trump is obviously different because of his stronghold over the GOP base and because he's seemingly managed to convince a large majority of Republicans that he actually won the election, facts notwithstanding,” Krasno said. “If he was younger it would be hard to bet against him running again and winning the nomination -- much to the chagrin of other ambitious Republicans who have decided that cozying up to him was their best path to the presidency. For the moment, no one with a chance to win would dare run against him.”
“There are some interesting trade-offs for those who might want the Republican nomination in 2024 -- they don't want to anger Trump but they need to create space for themselves. There are also interesting trade-offs with regard to criticisms of the 2020 election and get out the vote efforts for the Georgia runoff elections -- calling the system into question doesn't seem like a good way to get more people to engage in that system,” Hanmer said.
Rachel Bucchino is a reporter at the National Interest. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report and The Hill.